Philadelphia 76ers: The Biggest Concern for Each Coaching Candidate

Justin Grasso

Soon enough, the Philadelphia 76ers will have their next head coach hired and in the building. For now, the team is still undecided between three different candidates. Ty Lue and Mike D'Antoni have been the supposed favorites for the job for the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Doc Rivers just joined the free agency market on Monday and is already in Philly to meet with the Sixers on Wednesday.

Each candidate the Sixers are currently looking at has an impressive resume. You could argue that these three coaches are the top leaders available in the NBA. While all three could give the Sixers a boost from the Brett Brown era, some concerns come attached to these prominent candidates. With that, here's perhaps the most significant concern surrounding each coach the Sixers are considering. 

1. Tyronn Lue

In Philly, people will go as far as saying they don't want Ty Lue to coach the Sixers simply because of the Allen Iverson step-over. Silly, I know -- but seriously, Lue has a negative outlook on him as a head coaching candidate because basketball fans won't take his championship pedigree seriously since LeBron James played for him.

And guess what? The concern is certainly valid. We're talking about LeBron James, one of the best players of all time. When Lue coached James, they managed to win the Finals in 2016. In the next two seasons, Lue's Cavaliers made Finals appearances but couldn't win. Once LeBron took off to Los Angeles, Lue lost six-straight games to start the 2018 NBA season and ended up getting fired. 

The stigma around Lue is that he only won because he had LeBron. It's hard to argue that sentiment, but in all fairness, the Cavaliers did win just 19 games that season when Larry Drew took over for Lue. It wasn't a good roster, and the organization was going downhill from there. Hiring a LeBron-less Lue does come with a level of concern, but the guy still deserves another shot at being a head coach.

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2. Mike D'Antoni

How does Mike D'Antoni, a guy who coached an innovative small-ball system in Houston, come to the Sixers and make it work? Think about it, Philly's lineup is an awkward fit as it is, and it's quite the opposite of what D'Antoni worked with when he coached the Rockets this season.

We've heard that if the Sixers hire D'Antoni, the front office is willing to make some moves to fit his system better. Regardless of whether the Sixers hire D'Antoni or not, they will have to make moves for a better-fitting roster. 

But if D'Antoni is their guy, the moves the Sixers will have to make will be quite an enormous task for this front office, who has made some questionable decisions as of late already. It's hard to question a veteran coach's ability to adjust and work with what he's got. However, the Sixers must've liked what they've seen from D'Antoni as of late with the Rockets. So if they expect that kind of offense, the front office has a lot of tweaking to do before next season.

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3. Doc Rivers

The Clippers shocked the basketball world when they called it quits with Rivers this week. A couple of weeks ago, rumors indicated Rivers would keep his job and coach Los Angeles for an eighth-straight season. Two weeks later, Rivers is on the free agency market and taking up immediate interviews with the Sixers.

Like Lue, Rivers has a championship under his belt when he won it all coaching the 2007-2008 Celtics. Having a title on your resume is good -- but is having multiple collapses in the playoffs worse? In the NBA, 13 teams have allowed opponents to climb back from a 3-1 deficit and win the series in the playoffs over time. 

Three of those 13 collapses came from teams coached by Rivers. His third occurred a couple of weeks ago when the Clippers allowed the Denver Nuggets to fire off three-straight wins with their backs against the wall. The Sixers' organization has blown a 3-1 series lead twice in history -- once in 1968 and another time in 1981. The thought of bringing in the guy who could potentially snag a third (would be the most in NBA history) is something to think about. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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